Tag: Creamy

Tuscan White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup (Crock Pot Recipe)

Creamy white bean soup, with roasted garlic and a touch of sage. So simple and inexpensive to make, and so so good. Leftovers can be frozen.

This started out as an experiment, and ended as a soup. I never know what to expect when I throw something in the slow cooker, I wanted to see if I can cook white beans in the crock pot without soaking them first. The answer is yes you can; it took about 3-4 hours on high. But they basically looked like cooked beans in water, not like a thick pot of beans that I imagined so I quickly fixed that and turned this into a great tasting soup.

As a kid, I remember my Mom pureeing all my soups to make me eat them. As an adult, I tend to still like my beans pureed in my soup. You can leave some beans whole as I did to give it some texture, or blend the whole thing, up to you.

My method for roasting garlic is a little unconventional, I peel my cloves before roasting because I prefer not to have to do it after. Completely up to you how you roast your garlic, the end result is the same. If you are pressed for time, and wish to skip the roasted garlic, it will still taste wonderful. I personally think adding them makes it go from good to great.

Note: if you want to make this vegetarian, substitute the chicken bouillon for vegetable.

Tuscan White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup (Crock Pot Recipe)
Servings: 7 • Size: little over 1 cup • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 241 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 41 g • Fiber: 6 g • Protein: 15 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 322 mg (without added salt)


  • 1 lb dry Cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 sage leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chicken Better Than Bouillon, or cube (vegs us vegetable bouillon)
  • kosher salt and white pepper to taste


Place beans, 3 cloves of the garlic, water and a few sage leaves in the crock pot; cover and set to HIGH 4 hours, or until beans are soft. Don’t add salt.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. Place remaining garlic cloves in the center of a 7×7 inch square of aluminum foil (photo above is showing half of the cloves, use the whole thing). Cover garlic with olive oil and a little salt. Seal aluminum tightly and place in the oven 25-30 minutes, until garlic is soft and golden. Remove from oven and set aside until the beans are done.

When the beans are soft, add the bouillon and mix well until dissolved, then carefully some of the beans and liquid along with the roasted garlic to the blender. Blend until smooth and pour it back into the crock pot. Repeat with the remaining beans until you get the texture you desire. You can also use an immersion blender if you have one. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

Serve with fresh sage and white pepper on top and if you wish, some whole roasted garlic cloves on top. (I reserved a few)

Makes about 7 3/4 cups.

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Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Spicy Sausage and Baby Spinach

Spicy chicken sausage is the perfect compliment to this creamy pasta dish made with butternut squash, baby spinach, parmesan and a touch of sage. It’s filling and comforting on a chilly winter night.

Since making Spaghetti with Creamy Butternut Leek Sauce[1] a few weeks back, I am officially hooked. I love how the butternut squash feels like a decadent creamy sauce without the need for heavy cream. And with the addition of parmesan and hot sausage, the end result is savory and delicious.

I am also loving Giada’s new line of organic pastas sold at Target. I’m picky with my pasta and love the taste and texture of this pasta when cooked al dente. I always go for unusual pasta shapes, here I used a shape called casarecce… love!

As part of the Target Inner Circle, I got to meet Giada in person a few weeks ago at Fun and Fit in the City. Isn’t she beautiful!
She was so sweet in person, I also got an autographed cookbook and a goody bag full of her new food products sold at Target. My favorites were of course the organic pastas. I tried a few shapes, but plan on going back to Target to try the whole wheat.

A few more things: This week I teemed up with 11 other bloggers to host a HUGE HOLIDAY giveaway… Two winners, one will win an iMac Computer! A second winner will win a $500 gift card. Hey, you never know! You gotta be in it to win it… click here for a chance to win[2]!

And most importantly: Starting today I am making a commitment to run at least 1 mile a day until New Years. You in? It’s part of the 2012 Holiday Running Streak from Runner’s World[3]. The way I see it, why wait till New Years? Let’s start now, with all the baking and indulging that goes on during the Holidays, this is the perfect way to find a balance. I ran a mile this morning, I’ll be running again tomorrow… if you prefer to walk, that’s fine too, I would love it if you joined me. It could be inside, outside, morning, lunch time, evening… whenever you can squeeze it in. Tell me you’re in, it will help keep me motivated!

Pasta with Spicy Sausage, Baby Spinach and Creamy Butternut Sauce
Servings: 5 • Size: 1 1/4 cups • Old Points: 7 pts • Points+: 9
Calories: 362 • Fat: 8 g • Carb: 55 g • Fiber: 5 g • Protein: 20 g • Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 419 mg (without salt)


  • 11 oz (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 10 oz casarecce, or pasta of your choice 
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • 4 sage leaves, sliced thin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in parmesan cheese and sage.

Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.
Serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side if desired.

Makes about 6 cups.


  1. ^ Creamy Butternut Leek Sauce (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  2. ^ click here for a chance to win (www.skinny-bits.com)
  3. ^ 2012 Holiday Running Streak from Runner’s World (www.runnersworld.com)

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Baby Greens with Goat Cheese, Beets and Candied Pecans

Creamy goat cheese with crunchy sweet pecans and red beets topped with a
honey balsamic vinaigrette is like a symphony in your mouth. This salad will make you look like a culinary whiz!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!

I still have no power due to Hurricane Sandy so I thought I would re-post an older recipe from the archives. If you are without power, this doesn’t require an oven and would be perfect for Meatless Monday.

Baby Greens with Goat Cheese, Beets and Candied Pecans
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1/4 • Old Points: 7 pts • Points+: 8 pts
267 • Fat: 19.5 g • Protein: 7 g • Carb: 19 g • Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 14 g  
Sodium: 211 mg


For the honey balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey 

Make vinaigrette by whisking olive oil, balsamic and honey until smooth. In a large bowl toss greens with vinaigrette and mix well.

Evenly divide greens between four bowls. Top each bowl with one beet, 1 oz goat cheese and pecans. Serve immediately.

* I boiled the beets in water until soft, but they can be roasted in the oven as well.

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